In replacing Max Bullough, Jones’ work was cut out for him and the standard set high. He has been solid throughout the season in the role, but was outstanding Saturday. He had 10 tackles with three tackles for loss and was instrumental in the Spartans shutting down Ameer Abdullah. As impressive as his stat line was, it was as impressive watching him command the defense and run the show.
Realistically, all the linebackers could be on this list as many had good games, but behind Jones, Bullough and Ed Davis were the best. It was a pair of highlight plays that Bullough made which gave him the spot on this list. The first came on a third-and-13 after a penalty which set Nebraska back. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong broke into the open field with room to run. Bullough made great pursuit and wrapped up Armstrong short of the first down. The second was a wheel route by Abdullah on a second-and-10. Bullough read the play well and went step for step with Abdullah and forced an incompletion. A pair of great plays made for a great game, as did a fumble recovery that would have resulted in a touchdown had it not been blown dead.
Everyone had been waiting for a breakout game from Calhoun so far this year. He had it Saturday. He had a sack, a 38-yard fumble recovery and three quarterback hurries. He also was great on the zone read defense, forcing Armstrong’s hand and making it tough to run.
Short-yardage play calling
Michigan State was not good on third down against Nebraska, converting just four of 16, but was the play calling that was troublesome. MSU frequently went with runs up the middle, including using Nick Hill on those situations, which doesn’t make a lot of sense when Delton Williams is standing on the sideline.
Two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties? Not a good look for the Spartans’ center. Neither seemed to be much and by no means “dirty,” but once he had one, it would have been smart to be careful of getting a second. He will not have to miss a game for the penalties, which is good news.